I have always had a personal fascination with the calves, mostly because mine tend to be on the extreme tight side. I enjoy cardio exercise as many of us do, running being one such example, but the unfortunate side of this kind of activity tends to be tightness into the calf muscles.
Through the years I have tried many ways to alleviate these symptoms of tightness. One such fix that I will not soon forget was the time I went to have my calves “separated” at a sports massage. You know that emoji face where the tears are streaming? Well combine that with the emoji face of shock and that was basically my facial expression for the entire hour. Beyond painful does not do my experience justice, but what was more important to come to light from this was that I must take steps to keep my calves loose.
Practicing yoga has helped me with this alot as there are many poses that we work with to keep the calves happy. Simply putting a flex into our foot, something we can do anytime and anywhere, is a step in the right direction.
UP NEXT – SOME CALF HAPPY POSES
- Suptapadangustana A – this posture is done lying on your back body. Using a strap (or even a robe tie) underneath the sole of your foot, stretch your leg up to the ceiling. You can either keep the other leg bent or stretch that leg along the floor. To direct this posture more towards stretching the calf, deeply flex your extended foot. Hold for around 5-8 breaths (or longer) and then switch legs.
- Parsvotanasa – begin simply standing on your yoga mat, then step your left leg back about 3 feet. As you step the leg back, turn the toes of the foot out about 30 degrees. Facing forward on your inhale breath, sweep your arms up to the ceiling, and on an exhale breath fold forward keeping both legs straight. You can either rest your hands onto the floor or if the floor is too far a reach, rest your hands onto a block or a chair. This pose is very effective at opening up both calves as well as many other wonderful benefits.
- Pashimotanasa – sitting down on the floor or onto a pillow stretch your legs out in front of you. Fold forward over your legs either grabbing onto your feet or resting your hands on your ankles or shins. From here put a flex into your feet targeting the calf muscles. Hold for 5-8 breaths (or longer!)
Cardio exercise provides wonderful benefits, but can also tend to shorten our muscles including the calves. Simply adding some stretch into your routine can greatly benefit the body and keep the muscles healthy and happy.
In yoga, the calves are often referred to as our second heart – even more reason to keep them open, healthy and flexible.